Illustration by Isha Khanzode.

Podcast: Represent (Slate)

I’m not a big podcast listener, but there’s an exception: Slate’s Represent podcast. It’s run by Slate culture writer and editor Aisha Harris and focuses on Black film. Aisha talks to Black filmmakers and dissects movies with other guests. This week, she talked about Jordan Peele’s hit, Get Out with fellow Slate writer Jamelle Bouie. Listening to their conversation about the film helped me unravel all the nuances I missed in the theater. Most of the podcast consists of interviews with people involved in all aspects of filmmaking. As someone with her own filmmaking ambitions, I appreciate the range of conversation. Whether Aisha’s talking to Joi McMillon about editing Moonlight, discussing costume design with Ruth E. Carter, or interviewing TV writers such as Cord Jefferson, every aspect of making visual content surrounding Black people is explored here, and I love it. —Tayler Montague

Movie: My Life As a Zucchini (2016)

When I went to see this movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After watching it and experiencing its whirlwind of emotions, I think it was better that way. My Life As a Zucchini follows the story of a young boy, Zucchini, who recently lost his mother. He befriends a police officer who takes him to a foster home filled with an eclectic bunch of adorable kids. Zucchini stays in touch with the police officer by sending hilarious letters and doodles of the foster home. Each child has their own story and damaged past, but instead of sacrificing childhood, they embrace it. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the main characters. Their friendships are truly delightful to watch! One scene includes a disco Charlie Brown-esque dance party, and another involves sneaking snow inside for a snowball fight after curfew. The coming-of-age film’s gorgeous and vibrant stop-motion animation also adds to its whimsy. It’s lighthearted, but I was also hit with raw feelings of sadness and happiness. It was very cathartic to squeeze a good cry into my day! I highly recommend watching this film. —Isabel Ryan

Movie: As You Are (2017)

My friends and I raced to the opening night of As You Are, ready to be slammed with turbulent feelings of adolescence all over again. We bustled through the doors of the theater as Amandla Stenberg and Charlie Heaton appeared on screen. Having the whole theater to ourselves, I was able to gasp and freak out in my seat without restraint. Set in the 1990s in Albany, New York, the film is a deconstruction of a web of memories centered around three teens, Sarah, Mark, and Jack. The boys meet by chance because their parents begin to date. The boys’s intimacy grows and their affection for one another gets stronger. The film itself jumps back and forth between memories and a mysterious police investigation, which prompts the viewer to question whether someone within the trio of friends has tragically died. It’ll be up to you to carefully pick apart the pieces and put them back together to see what really happened and why police officers are interrogating the friends. This movie pushes hard to show how burdensome love can be on a young teen. You see the characters come to terms with themselves but also work around the dotted lines of loved ones’ self-discovery too. As tensions rose, I cringed and cried. I loved this movie with all my heart. —Kati Yewell ♦